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Africa brain drain: scope and determinants

Abdeslam Marfouk, University of Brussels (ULB)

A large empirical literature has examined the determinants of international migration flows. Mostly due to lack of adequate data, the emigration from African countries has not received all the attention it deserves. In this study, we use a new and unique data set on the education structure of migration developed by Docquier and Marfouk (2006). Using Tobit econometric model we found that the economic and non-economic considerations (Wage gap between countries of origin and destination, former colonial links, economic opportunities in the receiving countries, labor market pressures) drive both high-skilled and low-skilled African emigration. However, our estimates provide strong evidence that elasticities differ by skill level. For example, High-skilled emigrants are more sensitive to economic prospects, linguistic proximity (proxy of the transferability of their skills) while low-skilled workers respond more to colonial links and social welfare programs. We found also that civil wars have a strong impact on emigration.

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Presented in Session 34: International migration in Africa